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From My Seat: Swansea City (A)

By Ken Buckley   ::  22/09/2012 A beautiful sunny day and a trip to South Wales for a Sky-inspired daft-o’clock kick-off meant fans of a Blue persuasion on the roads early... We still filled our allocation anyway — despite Sky having no regard for a travelling fan, so long as it satisfies the advertising coffers and armchair viewers, no matter what part of the world they dwell in. Don’t they know anyone anywhere can watch the game of their choice no matter what the kick-off time such is the power of the internet and big dishes? Make 'em all 3:00pm!!!

Still we got there and the talk was of a positive nature as it was realised we had never lost against them; also, our start to the season, though not perfect, was a cause of optimism. Jelavic and Gibson out, as was Hibbert, so that gave chances to Anichebe, Coleman and Neville to cement regular places. Distin was demoted in favour of Heitinga. It’s surprising, no matter how early the kick-off, how many local hostelries are geared up to make a profit whilst we ponder our fate today and beyond.

The ‘Justice for the 96’ minute's applause went well as both sets of fans responded in fine fashion. On the way, I read my Echo and there was an account of how that day had affected one fan; it brought home in graphic fashion how so many beyond the 96 had been affected as well as himself, and how important it is to not only bring to book those who deserve to be, but also how those in authority need to examine how they view the very people they purport to represent, defend, and expect support from at election times. The revelations so far seem to imply that, outside of times when those in authority need votes etc, then the ordinary person / public matter little and must not get in the way of someone’s power. Sorry about that soapbox bit but that article got to me a bit.

The game started in a whirlwind of Royal Blue attacks built from some super joined-up stuff and, but for an inability to put the ball in the net, the game could have been over in the first ten minutes.

In the first few minutes, the Swans keeper Vorm had thwarted Anichebe, Baines and Mirallas twice. We then had all sorts of chances: Fellaini had a chest-down come to nothing; Baines, Pienaar and Fellaini produced some fine triangles but the final ball and effort remained the same, gilt-edged but spurned. Many more minutes passed before the hosts could even get out of their half with any conviction.

Swansea were all at sea and a poor pass toward their centre back saw Vic intercept and head for goal and was cynically brought down by the Swans centre back Williams. Last man and off seemed obvious but our Ref Mr Taylor (a new one on me) deemed yellow to be enough. The resultant free kick came to nought. We were looking good and, but for being unable to convert any chance made into a goal, it could have been called one-sided.

20 mins gone and at last it happened: Neville, remaining cool, put in a decent pass that was delivered eventually at a difficult height to Fellaini who ignored a boot aiming at speed for his head and nudged the ball to Big Vic who at last gave the keeper no chance and allowed the players and travelling hoards to celebrate in fine fashion (yes, Vic did join in).

You would have thought that would have fired up Vic but unfortunately he fluffed his lines when presented with two acceptable chances in quick succession after his goal. It was all Everton... and how, after a succession of chances, we still remained 0 - 1, I will never know. But wouldn’t you just know it? We took the foot off that little bit and the hosts were on to us. They targeted the Baines area and got some joy to the extent that we saw Jags head one from the line, Neville made a fine last-ditch block, then the lad from Celtic curled one just wide with Howard nowhere.

We had been so dominant and now to see us on the collar and a tad lucky not to have gone behind was mystifying... but just as mystifying was the speed with which we responded. After a series of hoofed clearances which drew derogatory cries of ‘hoof’ from the home faithful, we reverted to the joined-up stuff when Neville from the right back area calmly fed Jags who played a measured ball forward to Fellaini who set Pienaar away and from his cross Mirallas hit a screamer that the keeper did wonders to get anything on, deflected onto the bar... but, with good awareness, Mirallas followed up, dived, made head contact and hey-ho: 0 - 2!

We were delighted, we had done the opponents for a change with a classic counter attack. Two goals and looking comfortable... but, hey, we are Everton and allowed Swansea to come roaring back just before the break when the fullback got in and shot which Howard somehow got a leg to and diverted the ball over the bar. That save could go down as a worldy or an incredible bit of luck. Tim is ours so I will say a worldy. The Swans were not finished as the half neared the death when a Swan met a cross unmarked at the far post but luckily for us headed away from goal instead of finding the danger area.

Half-time and the chat was of how well we were playing and dominating the game but at the same time conscious of the fact we could have gone in 3-2 down with better finishing from the hosts. Such are the fine margins at this level.

Swansea started the 2nd half brighter and had us all over the place for a time with Howard having to make two more stops in the category of brilliant, or just lucky, such was the speed that these incidents happened. We hoofed the ball out for it to come back in except when Vic could try to hold it up or the lively Mirallas scamper after it.

One of these manoeuvres paid off when Fellaini was fed through; however, he allowed himself to be driven wide and get held up but he managed to twist and turn and feed Mirallas who shot and hit the bar with the rebound falling to big Vic who contrived to get a good angle to shoot but instead of going across the keeper he pulled it just wide of the near post.

Swansea went up the other end and Howard was at it again with another stupendous save and keep us in pole position. Such was the nature of the game then a goal for Swansea could have had dire consequences.

At half-time, Swansea had brought on Dyer and, after a bit of Swansea fouling, he said something to the ref and got booked; within five minutes, he went in what looked like a two-footed on one of ours and the ref produced a 2nd yellow, red and off. Mr Laudrup no doubt would have been delighted with his efforts... Down to ten men and the fight drained from them and the Blues put some fine stuff together but just could not find that third goal that said Thank You and Good Afternoon...

The game went on with Everton calm and collected and bossing the 10 dejected men of Swansea but that third goal just would not come. Swansea having the odd attack that was really exposing us when it shouldn’t have had a few thinking of Monday night...

The manager on 70mins replaced the tiring Mirallas with Naismith who did initially inject some venom into our play but then faded a little. Fellaini had a header cleared off the line after a Baines corner. Osman got our only booking when he pulled down a Swan after he had made an error. The highlight for us so far was Fellaini using the same sand wedge he used at WBA when he skied an open-goal chance way over the bar, Row Z again!! Big Vic missed a couple of great opportunities by trying to be too precise.

Into the last 10mins and we get a free kick. Baines takes, Fellaini stoops and conquers... 0 - 3: game over! Cue celebrations and songs with none louder than "We're gonna’ win the league" followed closely by the David Moyes tribute chant.

Swansea still had time to hit the bar. The manager sent on Gueye and our new Number 8 Oviedo with 5 mins to go but neither had time or chance to show us anything.

Final whistle and, with a mass exodus of Swansea fans already having taken place, the stadium was full of the faithful letting rip and leaving players and manager and board our expectations for the season: only the League throphy, FA Cup, League Cup, Boat Race and Grand National will do!!! Well, it was a nice day and 3 - 0 away – you can get carried away.

MotM – Fellaini.

Overall, a good trip out and being so near the top of the league allowed us to indulge in some fantasies — well, you never know... In many ways a strange game and not that far away from what we saw on Monday night. Take the first half: we totally dominated and could, maybe should have been 5 - 0 up yet it was possible to also see we could have been 3 - 2 down. All due to our jitters in defence and midfield and their poor final-third play.

Second half, we started really slowly and our first attacks were from hurried long clearances, last-ditch stuff if you like. We then showed we can turn on the delightful joined-up stuff but, after failing to convert the gilt-edged chances this play threw up, we reverted to panic when asked to defend.

A strange affair from such normally assured players. Still that’s just nit-picking because I want us to be more consistent than we are at the moment... because, sure as hell, there is a fine team in there just itching to get out.

3 - 0 away is never to be sniffed at and all over the park players played some fine and encouraging football. Big Vic, despite some misses, was as good as I have seen him for a while and led the line quite well. Was today the day he finally got rid of that tag ‘Built like Tarzan – plays like Jane’?!? I hope so... for I am sure there is a good footballer in there somewhere.

Here's hoping Hibbert, Jelavic and Gibson are soon fit and maybe an out-of-contract player(s) brought in to deepen the squad.

Heard when leaving the ground:– "Great start... we will probably have a lousy finish this season"!! How’s your glass?!?

Southampton next. They had a good win today. Sure to be worth being in the ‘Old Lady’ and prepared for anything.
UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Danny Broderick
384 Posted 22/09/2012 at 23:06:32
Great review as usual Ken. If I can just add a few points:

I wasn't convinced by the centre-half partnership. We were wide open at times. It has to be Distin plus either Jags or Heitinga for me.

Coleman had a good solid game at right back. The team looked better balanced with him on the right of defence, providing what Baines does on the left.

Neville had a decent game, he kept it neat & tidy. I know he gets a bit of stick but I thought he did well today.

Baines & Pienaar — outstanding as usual.

Mirallas looks like a bargain, again he has improved the balance on the right-hand side.

Ossie and Fellaini had good solid games.

That leaves Vic. He's doing really well at the moment. He's desperate for a run in the team. He's never quite done it in the past, but last season he had several decent cameos and he has done really well in this past week. He seems to have matured a bit — maybe the penny has finally dropped regarding his attitude, he put in a good shift again and is worth his place in the team.

Great win today, let's keep it going...

Peter Creer
385 Posted 22/09/2012 at 22:37:51
From My Seat - Part 2 - In this part of the world, Canada, I am up at 7 am for the kickoff which happens at 7:45 am. If I were in England, I would have to agree that the 12:45 pm start is too early with a drive; however, here in Canada, I have the distinct pleasure of seeing Everton EVERY week and most of the time it is live.

Today's match was another encouraging display of what our boys are now dishing out; the usual hard work pressing high up the park, speed down the wings, Fellaini popping up all over the place, and a solid defence. We are creating more chances and are spreading the ball about the field with more confidence and consistency.

Each time I see Kevin Mirallas I get more excited about the potential that is starting to be seen. I believe his movement is creating more difficulty for the opposition and it is making our attack more balanced.

And with the team in such good form I am very excited about heading back home to see them play at Wigan. Can't wait!

I love this part of the website and congratulate Ken for giving us a real life snapshot of the game from the right perspective... in the stands.

Paul Ferry
387 Posted 22/09/2012 at 23:22:25
1st half was a joy to watch at 6:45 in the morning! Fried eggs on butter-loaded muffins if you must ask. Movement and possession looked... well, a little like a real great team who move and possess the ball with tip-top skill. And this a line-up at first glance for me at any rate that didn't send me into orbit.

Thoughts:

(1) Coleman needs to be trusted at right back; he needs a run there in up-and-coming games that we ought to win on paper. He looked brighter and better today than in any other game there.

(2) MotM was our Indie music luvin' left back.

(3) Central defence is becoming such a thorn in our side. So shaky again today. Distin and JH for me; can't be worse than the other two permutations used so far.

(4) I don't care that he scored and don't care that he stayed on for the full 90. Victor is quite simply not up to par; I long for the day he is shipped down the road to the mutants at Stoke. One error after another: misses that fill the fingers of one hand, wayward shots, falling over (still), gangly, lacks pace, ungainly. He is not good enough to be a starting Everton striker. Yes, one of his better games (I know, I saw it) but for every good thing there were two bad things.

(5) TH drives me frenzied insane with his ups and downs. Sparkling when called on today and therefore will clearly start against Saaaawwthhhhaammptonnnn where the might well have another mare and drop a couple of clangers.

(6) 2nd and a deserved 2nd. But until Moyes gets rid of his blinkered obsession with playing the Frightful Five — Neville, Hibbert, Osman, Timmy, Victor — we will not be able to sneak into the top four. Osman, to be fair, had a good game today, I thought, especially 1st half, but overall, week-in & week-out, ship him down the road to Wigan or Bolton or Blackburn.

Dick Fearon
391 Posted 22/09/2012 at 23:21:06
Hey Ken, I am one of your armchair fans yet if circumstances allowed I would swap places with you in an instant. As things are, I rely on your good self plus other Twebbers to generate the kind of atmosphere and background that is missing from TV commentary. Going by what I saw on the box, your report was on the money and much thanks for it.

My armchair analysis of the game indicates a worrying gap between attack and our backline. On too many occasions Swansea forced Jags and Heitinga into making last-ditch tackles. We could have been punished had the opponents had better strikers.

In the second half, Ossie was chugging around at half pace and not really in touch with the game. Much maligned Vic definitely provided a decent target and showed a big improvement. Fellani was superb and I hope BK can find enough dosh to keep the big fella happy.
Craig Fletcher
395 Posted 23/09/2012 at 00:21:00
Thanks for the report as usual Ken. Though I would say the early kick-off at least meant in little 'ol New Zealand we could watch the game at a semi-respectable 11:45pm rather than in-the-middle-of-the-night o'clock.

Definitely a strange game; odd for Everton too that our defence is looking quite suspect whilst our play in the final third is as good as it has ever been in the past four or five years. Glad for Coleman to get a run as it provided a bit of balance and an attacking threat on the right (all due respect Hibbo). Neville was better after his mare against Newcastle; however, at times he still gave the ball away too easily.
Derek Thomas
398 Posted 23/09/2012 at 00:40:31
Pretty much spot on Ken.

The CBs: still shakey, but I don't think it's all their fault. Moyeses New Model Army has gone a bit Cavelier with this attacking ethos, no bad thing in its self, I mean I for one have been shouting for it for ages, so I can't complain too much. But with this, in simplistic terms pushing up a bit more come space in front of the back 4 where in olden times there might have been a tighter MF 5 or even 6, which brings us to...

Capt Pip: we all know he is playing out of position, some seem to think his is doing OK for him, sorry I see him as struggling, not just with the job but with his own form and footballing mortality, I can see it having been there at a lower level you can only kid them and your self for so long, his brain is writting more and more cheques his legs can't cash. Gibson he ain't Carsley he never was even at his 'best'.

But finances dictate a small squad, jacks of all trades, there should be Gibson, a decent back up and Fellaini in the Carsley spec. But that then leaves a Fellaini-shaped hole further up field and so on with the knock-on effect.

We are EIGHT players away from a top team: the 4 that are already here, including Neville and Osman, the other 2 are debatable. And the 4 decent and thus expensive replacements.

I think we could get 3rd, but my glass half-empty leads me to think we might do a Newcastle and miss out right at the death.

Keith Edmunds
402 Posted 23/09/2012 at 01:16:39
From my armchair in Melbourne I love the lunchtime kick off, 9:45pm here. Midweek I'll be up before 5am in the probably vain hope of finding a dodgy internet link.

Excellent report, Ken. As you say a strange game that we could have won by more, or but for great or lucky goalkeeping at critical times we could have lost.

James Flynn
403 Posted 23/09/2012 at 01:00:11
So five games in, I only had to click on ESPN and there's my Boyes. Nice change of pace. Also, there were 3-4 articles on ESPN Soccer about EFC right after the game today. Very nice. America is waking up to Everton.

James Flynn
404 Posted 23/09/2012 at 01:43:50
And Fella forward is the other guy's problem. A very big one.

Ajay Gopal
407 Posted 23/09/2012 at 03:00:22
Has Moyes had a brain transplant recently? Everton have gone from a 'safety first' approach to 'attack, atttack, attack'. While I admit this is what we have been clamoring for as fans, I am starting to get a bit uneasy. I mean, when have you seen the centre-back (Jags) bombing forward to the edge of the opponents penalty area in the 1st 5 minutes of the game? It was in open play - NOT a corner!

Even Heitinga was playing so far forward, I thought he was playing the Neville/Carsley role at times. The result was it left huge gaps at the back, which better teams will easily exploit (and Newcastle did that last Monday and, to be honest, Swansea should have today at least 4 times). Especially, yesterday between the 30th minute to 42nd minute, there were attacks after attacks from their right side, and Baines was nowhere to be found. All a bit bizarre I must say.

The 2nd worrying thing is the number of opportunities that we wasted. OK, Vic, Fella, Mirallas, Pienaar and Osman are still figuring out each other and once they do that, I expect we will score a lot more goals.

Still, an away 0-3 win is not to be sniffed at. As somebody mentioned on another thread, a fair result would have 10-4 !

Anto Byrne
410 Posted 23/09/2012 at 03:45:48
Great report, creating a lot of chances and not converting is a bit of a worry. When we play the top sides we're not going to be carving out lots of chances and the likes of Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, and Man City are always more clinical with their finishing, much in the way Newcastle only had a handful of chances and put two away.

Jelavic when fit will be the key as his finishing is clinical. Big Vic with a run of games might find some composure but he reminds me of past strikers we have had that can't hit a barn door at 20 paces. Radzinki, anyone?

The new Everton under Moyes is taking shape... so, over the next few weeks, certain elements of the game will be addressed and, as we know with Moyes, he will be concerned with this defence. Howard made some great stops; however, whether this is luck or judgement, it's really down the the CBs and FBs limiting these opportunities and giving Howard as little to do as possible.

Another 10points from the next 5 games please.
Steve Brown
411 Posted 23/09/2012 at 05:03:56
Regarding the comments on Jagielka and Distin, I think the issue was the cover they got from midfield.

Neville allowed runners, especially Michu, to run past him all afternoon and this distribution from defence was also wayward. Osman is not a central midfielder in my book and can't tackle.

So unless we pull Fellaini back (impossible given how well he played up front) or until Gibson is back, let's enjoy the roller-coaster thrills of the last two games for a month or so!

John Ford
412 Posted 23/09/2012 at 05:23:57
I can't remember a game where the opposition cut through us so easily. We battered them but from 35 mins onward it was surreal. Great stuff but at times we seemed unable to stop Swansea waltzing into our area and testing Howard.

Jim Harrison
413 Posted 23/09/2012 at 05:33:45
Great review as always Ken. For me, a 7:45pm kick-off was just about right for beers and a few mates, but I would be hating it if I had to get to the match.

I can't believe the amount of chances Vic had. If he had a little more composure he could/should have had a hat-trick.

Jack Lee
417 Posted 23/09/2012 at 06:42:30
I don't understand the bad stuff Osman gets in other comments. I thought he is great in the centre of midfield. Can't compare him with Neville, who is poor understandably due to his age. Osman keeps possession, makes reasonably penetrative passes, makes great tackles for his size, and he is experienced enough to play in the middle of the park. Just commenting to support his case amidst all the wrongful opinions going around IMO.
Ian Bennett
427 Posted 23/09/2012 at 07:40:43
We usually freeze in front of the cameras. 30 odd chances? I think that equates to about 10 games in old money. Coyb
Chris James
447 Posted 23/09/2012 at 08:13:18
Fabulous result and an amazing performance.

If it wasn't Toffeeweb I'd be somewhat dumfounded by the surprising volume of negative commentary following a game in which we have well and truly outplayed one of the better regarded footballing sides in the division and punctured their great start to rout them at their own stadium.

Swansea are renowned for holding possession and outplaying opponents, today we had almost twice as many shots (30, with two thirds on target) and drew 23 fouls and 6 cards from 'footiballing' opponents. We obviously won 3-0 and with a bit more luck and composure it could easily have been 5, 6 or 7.

Sure, we did concede some opportunities too, but that's what happens when you play attacking football (you know the football the majority of glass half empties have been clamouring for for years), you inevitably leave yourself with players up the pitch. Despite that, our defence held firm and some great saves and clearances ensured a clean sheet.

Now I appreciate I'm not a footballing professional, but to me 'creating chances at one end' and 'keeping them out at the other' is pretty much the base premise upon which a successful football team is based. If you can deliver entertaining passing moves (which we did) and large spells of control with the opposition team not having a sniff (check), then so much the better.

Are all of our players the best in their position? No, of course not. But the key problem I have with the criticism here is that most of it bears little relation to what's actually happened on the pitch today and more to long-standing grudges based on real or perceived failures previously. This is especially true of the bile that gets hurled at the apparently not so fab 5 of Vic, Neville, Osman, Hibbert and Howard.

Today I think Vic was a solid 7, with a good argument for an 8. Did he miss a few chances? – absolutely. Did he get into the positions to have the chances? – absolutely. Does every striker in the world miss more chances than they score (including RVP, Tevez, Rooney and our own Jelavic)? – well, aside from 1-shot 1-goal Fletcher, then yes! Was Vic repeatedly involved in our build-up play, holding up the ball, offering an outlet, creating chances for others, winning free-kicks and keeping on running and trying till the last? Well, from what little I could see by actually watching the entire match, I can only say yes.

Curiously enough this appears to be the verdict of many independent outsiders inclduing the Premier League's own fantasy football game which awarded all 3 bps to Victor ahead of Baines and Felliani and Fantasy Football Scout's ICT index which also placed him as the most valuable player so far this gameweek.

I must stress this isn't me saying that Anichebe is perfect and deserves to be our first choice forward when Jelly is fit, but it is me absolutely saying "the boy done well" and "that's 2 goals in 2 matches, so let's give him a chance and get behind him".

As for Osman, going by the stats he also had a pretty good game, with over 88% pass completion of 50 passes (25 in Swansea half), he created 3 chances, won all 3 of the tackles he was involved in, had 2 shots (both blocked), made 2 interceptions, 7 recoveries and 3 clearances and had 70 touches in total (so was involved every couple of minutes). All-in-all he wasn't far behind Pienaar or Fellaini in terms of creative contribution and had more overall influence in terms of winning the ball and passing it around.

If you apply the same stats-based approach to Neville a similar picture appears that's at odds with the perception held by many. Comparing Neville's performance today with an average of Gibson's first 3 games actually reveals that the impact of the two players is actually very similar and Neville actually comes out on top overall as he had more touches than Gibson on average, made more passes and had a higher pass completion rate as well as winning far more aerial challenges and making more clearances.

Howard needs no statistical defence, he was awesome today and made 2 world-class saves and Hibbert obviously wasn't playing, offering Coleman an opportunity he took with gusto (another positive).

Add in another promising attacking performance from Mirallas (and his first goal), Fellaini continuing to look an unplayable beast in the attacking midfield role, the usual consistent threat and interplay of Baines and Pienaar on the left, and the return of Heitinga to the back-line plus a brief run-out for Naismith, Oviedo and Gueye and today surely has to go down as an amazing day. I'd suggest that Moyes's willingness to persist with attacking line-up and approach despite absences (and recent results) is also a hugely encouraging trend that surely must merit recognition and celebration here amongst those who'd castigated Dour Davey beforehand.

I'll make no league predictions (way too early for that) or even pre-empt a good-run against supposedly weaker opposition (anyone can win on their day in the PL), but I am going to revel in the joy of some great attacking performances that have yielded 10 points (that should've been 12 bar some poor reffing) and see us flying high and genuinely expectant going into each game week.

Mohammed Horoub
457 Posted 23/09/2012 at 09:52:04
I'm also a little surprised at some of the negativity being posted. We're in 2nd place for today (can't stop checking the table this morning!) and we have scored 9 goals in 5 games. While I'm not jumping on the Champions League bandwagon just yet because to put it into perspective last season after 5 games we had 7 points with 6 Goals scored and 6 Conceded. An improvement but we need to make the comparison after 10 games.

Our line last year: P10 W 3 D 1 L 7 GF 11 GA 15.

Our next 5 games are:
Southampton (H)
Wigan (A)
QPR (A)
Liverpool (H)
Fulham (A)

I really think these next 5 games will define our season. If we get the job done and get to the Sunderland game at Goodison with 20 points the foundation would have been set.

Regardless of results all I remember from this time last year was the fear of conceding first. I would stop watching once we let in the first goal. With this current team and the form they're in that fear is gone. Once we get Gibson and Jelavic back Moyes will be looking at his bench and thinking I have real options now.

I'm sure there will be dips in form over the course of the season but we are currently the best team in the league that doesn't have Europe to worry about. It could end up being a perfect storm for us to break through that glass ceiling.

Micky Norman
458 Posted 23/09/2012 at 10:09:21
Chris James is spot on. Brilliant today. If it hadn't been for mistakes by the officials on Monday we would be on 12 points today. What more can you ask for? 3 first team players out today and we still completely out-played a team on their own turf. This is Moyes's best ever team and if only we had the cash to put a bit more quality in the squad we could be legitimate challengers. It's going to be an exciting season.
Alasdair Mackay
477 Posted 23/09/2012 at 11:04:49
Very happy with that. 19 shots on target away from home is excellent.

I can't believe I am still the only Evertonain in the world to like Anichebe. He has always been quick and strong and has good technical ability. His problem has been confidence and attitude at times, but he seems to be sorting that out. If we, as a group, get behind the lad, in stead of berating him even after he leads the line so powerfully for 135 minutes consecutively, than his confidence issues are never going to go away and we will never get to see whether he can be the Drogba-style striker that he looks as if he could be.

Be nice to see Coleman get another game at right-back on Tuesday, give Jagielka a rest and play the other 2. Also give Naismith 45. We want to go and beat Leeds. That is one of our most important games of the season so far!

David Chait
482 Posted 23/09/2012 at 11:39:07
Very interesting article within an article Chris James. It's lie don't let the facts be in the way of perception. I guess just watching it appears there is something more incisive and calming with Gibson in the side. Never the less, it was a joy to watch at times... And even without Jela we found a way to score a few.

Couple years back we were just as much fun but couldn't hit a barn door... So I'll take not banging in 6, as long as we take a couple.

Ian Bennett
483 Posted 23/09/2012 at 12:06:06
I hope Liverpool play well today. We need them to take points off United as it could be the difference for us at the end of the season (like City), and a little bit if false hope for them dillusional fans does no harm.
Brent Stephens
484 Posted 23/09/2012 at 12:00:46
Chris James, thanks for the stats on Pip and Leon from this game. Very revealing and put the negative comments against them into some sort of perspective. I think there is a perception issue here... So when we like somebody, we notice when they do well, and when we hate somebody we notice their mistakes. The mistakes might be few but they stand out to some and lead to the negative comments.
Tony Cheek
491 Posted 23/09/2012 at 13:01:45
Bit of advice for Vic:

1) Just put yourself about, use your strength and gain some respect.
2) Don't hobble for a minute after every tackle, hust when it hurts!
3) Don't put your head in your hands like the world's ending every time you don't hit the target, or make a mistake. Just put your chest out and get it right next time!
4) Make the most of the big chance you have now of proving us all wrong — so far you are doing well!
5) Don't read ToffeeWeb!
Jamie Zeqiri
495 Posted 23/09/2012 at 09:41:33
Well said Chris. ToffeeWeb is hilarious, three-nothing away win in the Premier League and yet almost half our team should be replaced.

Sadly I was unable to watch the game today due to a catering commitment but while I was slicing sweet potatoes and mashing avocados I was listening to the game on radio five and by all accounts I heard Vic, Osman, Pip and Howard all acquitted themselves very well. As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter who they are – get a 0-3 victory in the prem and they should play every week until they turn rubbish.

Ciarán McGlone
496 Posted 23/09/2012 at 14:00:40
The problem with stats is that they can be twisted to suit any agenda. They mean nothing on their own.

One example: Neville's pass completion rate. The full story is that a lot if those passes put the player receiving the pass in trouble. A badly executed pass is nothing to be crowing about.

Steve Guy
519 Posted 23/09/2012 at 17:26:47
We played well, rode our luck a little at the back but were saved by Howard when it mattered. people outside the Club are finally waking up to the fact that we've been playing like this since around February. Some of the old qualities under Moyes (closing down, working hard all over the pitch) have been complemented by pace, better movement off the ball and an increase in the skill quotient in the side generally. We create chances now in every game and just need to keep taking them. Oh for a better ref last Monday and we'd be on the same points as Utd tonight.

I generally agree with the comments about Neville, but at the end of the day that's why Moyes bought Gibson and tried to get the lad from Belgium, as he knows it's not PN's best position as well. This is probably Neville's last season as a regular and he busts a gut for us every time he plays and has done since he joined; so I think some slack and also some respect is due.

By the way, have most of the media had an irony by-pass ? Everton fans singing about winning the league was good banter and humour (made me smile). So...message to various media outlets.....it's a joke, we don't mean it.

Now Champions League ? We are havin a laff (hopefully).

Martin Mason
521 Posted 23/09/2012 at 17:52:34
Just watched the televised games today and Liverpool vs United was a very poor game and we are good enough to be in that Company. City vs Arsenal was brilliant and they are on a different level, I don't think we are there but not far maybe. Arsenal were good.
Paul Thompson
526 Posted 23/09/2012 at 18:09:15
Interesting point from Harry Redknapp on MOTD last night - that when Spurs came to play at Swansea last season he had the team sit down and watch the Everton game (that we won 2-0). So much for the Moyes 'tactically inept' crap we get from some on here. Was also hugely complimentary in general - 'a proper club' with great staff etc. This time we did even better. Happy (Harry) days.
Ajay Gopal
529 Posted 23/09/2012 at 18:20:20
Tony Cheek (491) - there is a general perception that Anichebe is a sissy and overplays his injuries. I remember that horror tackle on him by Kevin Nolan, and he went down, but Anichebe continued playing the remaining 5 minutes of the half. Only later after scans were done, was it revealed that it was a broken bone. If that was not brave (playing with a broken leg), then I don't know what bravery is. Now, I am not a big fan of Anichebe, but credit where it is due.
John Ford
530 Posted 23/09/2012 at 18:23:55
Dissapointed with the Anfield score today. I don't give a shit for this bleating about what Liverpool do or don't do, they really only matter when we're playing them. Utd are a team we should have half an eye on, and Liverpool should have won.
Colin Malone
532 Posted 23/09/2012 at 18:11:22
We have hit the ground running from last season, unlike other seasons. No criticism from me. COME ON EVERTON.
Jamie Barlow
536 Posted 23/09/2012 at 19:05:10
"The problem with stats is that they can be twisted to suit any agenda. "

Only when you don't want to agree with them.

Mike Green
538 Posted 23/09/2012 at 19:09:35
Valid point John. I think all round we were a bit win win no matter what the result today but a draw maybe would've been best all round.

I don't know what the United fans were chanting during YNWA but I get the feeling it was neither supportive or abusive, just disruptive. From that moment on I wanted LFC to win it to be honest. United fans are a bunch of dark, charmless, uncharitable bastards. The good news is they are in decline. Long may it last.

Drew O'Neall
547 Posted 23/09/2012 at 19:31:21
Ciaran good point about Neville's passing. He can't caress a pass to feet, it's just his style which makes him nothing more than an additional defender in midfield. I don't like Heitinga in midfield but I think given the way we are playing, his ability to pass and drop in to the D-line could be useful as a last resort, maybe try it against Leeds. Or try DaSIlva.
Gavin Ramejkis
551 Posted 23/09/2012 at 18:38:30
I could never bring myself to want the RS to gain points from anyone and am enjoying their slide to the foot of the table
John Ford
556 Posted 23/09/2012 at 20:55:39
Aye, Mike, it was a strange one that. I suppose all the Mancs could do was to shut up until it finished, which of course they didn't.
John Crawley
559 Posted 23/09/2012 at 20:31:41
Chris some great comments. I think your stats on Osman and Neville were very interesting. I would much rather have a debate with some informed comments using statistics than just slag certain players off.

As some one who has criticised David Moyes for his negative approach in the past this season has been a refreshing change. Yes, we are looking a bit dodgy defensively but the positives far outweigh the negatives. We are playing some great attacking football and sometimes as a result of this you do leave your self open defensively. 30 attempts on goal with 19 on target, away from home - that's is frankly unbelievable!!

People should read some of the comments on other websites from fans of other teams to get a bit of a perspective on what is happening so far this season. Here's one that is typical: "Dare I say it but could Everton be the most enjoyable team to watch in the league right now?"

And here's one I read from an Arsenal fan: "Whole lot of great individual performances and Everton's games are the best ones to watch this season. Everton for CL in expense of ummm.. anyone but us :D Ki Sung Yong, Fellani, Anichebe, Mirallas, and Howard were the standouts!! If Everton were a political candidate, they would be getting whole lotta votes, that's how convincing they are at this time."

When the hell was the last time we got comments like those from non-Everton Fans?

Chris James
561 Posted 23/09/2012 at 21:20:54
Ciaran, I think you missed the words 'fact' and 'end of' from the end of your reasoned rebuttal.

"The full story is that a lot if those passes put the player receiving the pass in trouble. A badly executed pass is nothing to be crowing about."

Do you perchance have anything to support this statement apart from a perception expressed with gusto?

Ciarán McGlone
563 Posted 23/09/2012 at 21:42:35
Watch the Swansea game Chris... Or the Newcastle game. One pass to Mirallas yesterday sticks in the mind as being typical of Neville passing us into trouble.

Are you actually suggesting that Neville's stats tell the whole story?

Jamie Sweet
566 Posted 23/09/2012 at 22:08:47
Chris James #447 - A great post.

Then again, I like statistics. I agree that they can never tell the full story, but I think they are a good indication of what is going on, and certainly support the theory that people allow their pre-conceived ideas and prejudices cloud their judgement of certain individuals.

Best stat of the day... we scored 3, they scored 0. Happy days!

Gerry Quinn
568 Posted 23/09/2012 at 23:10:01
Re Phil Neville — I for one do not think his stats say it all. Yes, they may appear to be impressive numbers, but what he did yesterday with two extremely poor passes could have cost us dearly had Swansea been anywhere near their normal game.

Yes, it may have been on only two occasions, but how many of you notice that at some time nearing the last quarter of a match he is the one that unnecessarily fouls the opposition in a ridiculously dangerous position on the edge of our own area? Having said that, I do recognise his all-round input with regards to the team.

Re the Red Shite — fuckin ace, well played Mark Halsey; so it's not anything to do with his love for Goodison Park? Line him up for the derby match... I would love us to get away with biased decisions for once!
James Flynn
569 Posted 23/09/2012 at 23:37:50
John Ford (556) - Agree. All respect to fellow Evertonians from Liverpool. They have feelings I don't regarding the local rivalry. I acknowledge that as fact.

But we're after bigger game this season than just finishing above those red shirts over the way. We did that last year and easily will this.

The 3 points are paramount. I would've been delighted at ManU drawing or losing today. They're our competition now.

Peter Jones
570 Posted 23/09/2012 at 23:45:58
559. John. You just made me smile :) Finally, people are waking up to the fact that we are a serious problem for the rest of the prem to deal with. My optimism increases each passing day.

If we find a way to add just a little depth in January (praying to god we work the Ofoe thing out), we are gonna be even more impressive, which is scary for everyone else regardless of who other clubs bring in. There is a continuity going forward I honestly have never seen out of our blues. Just crazy. Must have been transported to a parallel universe. Moyes has made a believer out of a long time skeptic. Damn proud to be a fan of this team!
Keith Glazzard
573 Posted 24/09/2012 at 00:47:06
Ken - good one as per. Glad you enjoyed your day out. I'm in Spain now which, I guess, is easier to get to than Swansea (no offence to my Cymraig mates). The Swans still look a good team (5-0 at QPR) but we shredded them.

Some good points made already can come together in my book. With Gibson out, Fellaini is our best player to be in that position. But the 'old' Moyes, dare I say it because he's still there on the bench, would have done that. Up the field he is becoming, and I've heard it twice now from pros, 'unplayable'. He has to be fouled to concede the ball. He will be kicked to death in the months to come. Let's see how the refs respond. (I'll put a ps at the end about the truly unplayable player)

Mirallas looks to be getting acclimatised as quickly as Jelavic did (are we getting something right - its supposed to take six months isn't it?) and Naismith will continue to improve in the Prem. But our major acquisition - and this is easy to forget - is Pienaar. With Marouane and Leighton working the left we have to be as good at that as anyone.

Which raises the question of what happens on the right. Fine players all, but Hibbo, Neville and Ossie can never reproduce what happens on the other side. Ossie in any case, although he acts heroically at times, shouldn't have the defensive duties put on him. He is creative, has good, quick feet, and a brain. An inside forward, like Jimmy Husband (see end for age related comment if you wish)

Coleman, for me, impressed in Swansea. We know all about his mazey, sometimes headless chicken runs forward. But he can attack effectively. And although not a youngster he is still young, very much so in terms of Prem experience compared to where he came from. I just had a sniff of a hope that we might have seen the future Leighton Baines of the right flank showing himself yesterday.

PS - those of us who were at GP for the World Cup in 1966 may have seen Brasil play Bulgaria. Hard fought, but notable for two goals from free kicks. Pele's and Garrincha's. Manuel Francisco dos Santos was properly named the 'unplayable' player. You had to foul him to stop him. In fact, coaches realised that had to change their defensive systems because of people like him. Welcome 'catenaccio'.

Sorry I can't post the link, but simply go to YouTube, search for Garrincha & Zitarossa for 6 minutes of football heaven and pretty nifty guitar

pps - I'm not comparing Fellaini to Garrincha. But I reckon our guy is an innovator, never as mind-boggling as Garrincha was, but in a much more professionalised game, a special talent.

Phil Walling
618 Posted 24/09/2012 at 11:38:41
With so many loving comments about Moyes, Neville and Big Vic, how long before someone posts in praise of our `splendid` Chairman,Bill Kenwright?

Amazing what a few good results does for the mood of us ToffeeWebbers, eh?
Tony J Williams
625 Posted 24/09/2012 at 12:14:50
In the nicest possible way....fuck off Phil...;-) Bloody Kenwrong, it was bad enough hearing Old Arry praising him on Match of the Day
Martin Mason
631 Posted 24/09/2012 at 13:08:18
The real guiding light behind our current success is our Dear Leader Bill Kenwright, AKA "Blue Bill", Kim Jong Bill or "Uncle Bill" as I prefer to call him. A true Blue who works conscientiously and unseen in the background striving to build a great team at Everton and 24/7 to find the right buyer for the club. Loved by all Evertonians but a bitter few who don't see his goodness and dedication and by all in the game as possibly the only fan who can actually run a football club. An Everton legend, I give you all - - - - - - - Our Uncle Bill, the greatest Evertonian of all time.
Mike Green
632 Posted 24/09/2012 at 13:15:28
Two elephants jump off a cliff. Boom, boom.
Roberto Birquet
633 Posted 24/09/2012 at 13:37:50
set of drums fall off from a cliff - B-errum, Tish!
Phil Bellis
637 Posted 24/09/2012 at 13:43:31
Martin
...never forgive the twat for King's Dock and jilting Lucille Hewitt - bastard!
Martin Mason
638 Posted 24/09/2012 at 14:06:28
Phil, Bill has no sin only Budha like serenity.
Brent Stephens
639 Posted 24/09/2012 at 13:52:29
Ciaran #563, I don't think anybody has suggested that the stats tell it all. Sure we'd all agree that we have to look beyond them. But they do make interesting reading and it would be interesting to know eg of the completed number of passes, how many put the receiver under pressure. Unless, of course, you don't like stats.
Phil Bellis
642 Posted 24/09/2012 at 14:12:43
He'll be feckin serene if I ever get me hands on him (Concepta Hewitt, 1969)
Ciarán McGlone
662 Posted 24/09/2012 at 15:22:47
Brent I think if you read the subtext of Chris' post you'll find that he is having a go at anyone who dares criticise players - and he is using stats to do precisely that!

For instance..take this quote..

"But the key problem I have with the criticism here is that most of it bears little relation to what's actually happened on the pitch today and more to long-standing grudges based on real or perceived failures previously. This is especially true of the bile that gets hurled at the apparently not so fab 5 of Vic, Neville, Osman, Hibbert and Howard."

That is quite clearly a broadside at those who critique our players...In fact he even goes as far as saying.."it bears little relation to what's actually happened.."

And then below..he goes on to validate what he's said by using stats..

"If you apply the same stats-based approach to Neville a similar picture appears that's at odds with the perception held by many."

I think its clear from this post that Chris was trying to dampen valid discussion/and or criticism by reference to stats, and stats only..Especially whenever he comes back and asks for my evidence that Nevilles passes often put other players in trouble [when even the most ardent Neville fan has seen him do it regularly]

So, i'll repeat...stats are absolutely useless without context. Especially whenever they lead to the conclusion that Neville "actually comes out on top overall" in a comparison with Gibson.

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